This guy is kind of a jerk.

Trying to find some news about the prognosis of Christopher Hitchens’ condition, I stumbled upon this little piece posted today by Andrew Sullivan, Hitch’s Cancer.

Here’s his whole post:

I’m devastated by the news. We need Christopher around for a long, long time. I do not know the details and understand his need for privacy. But he seems in good spirits if this classically British understatement is symptomatic of his mood:

“I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me.”

May the God he believes poisons everything be with him. And a simple word of encouragement: surviving a potentially fatal disease can be a form of liberation. I look forward to an even more liberated Hitch.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find his “good wishes” insulting. What an awful thing to do, using the opportunity of someone’s terrible, scary, potentially fatal illness to insist on pushing his religious beliefs.

Or maybe this just exposes Sullivan as the complete moron he seems to be, whether  he didn’t read the book he’s referring to, or he didn’t understand what Mr. Hitchens wrote on his book’s very title “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.”  which is, in itself, a complete statement of disbelief.

That I hope Mr. Hitchens can overcome this terrible and painful illness, goes without saying.

15 thoughts on “This guy is kind of a jerk.

  1. Bareback Andy is a douchebag. And it is repulsive the way he uses Hitchen’s illness as a way to push his religion. But it’s also the Christian way.

  2. This is just the same “Christian love” that we’re used to seeing. Even though I might be justified, considering how many deaths are on their hands, in hoping for the death of people like James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Pope Benny and their ilk, I do not. Why? BECAUSE I’M A HUMAN BEING and despite their crimes they are also human beings. I can hope for their followers to wise up, but hoping for their death or feeling glee as their families deal with the grief and pain of loss or illness is just sick.

  3. unfortunately some people take one person’s disbelief as a personal insult to themselves. It is a completely immature thing to do and leads to heinous behavior.

    At least we get to poke fun at it, but even that wears dull after a while.

  4. unfortunately some people take one person’s disbelief as a personal insult to themselves. It is a completely immature thing to do and leads to heinous behavior.

    At least we get to poke fun at it, but even that wears dull after a while.

  5. Coincidence meant I found your blog today because of Hitchens, who quoted from WH Auden’s Death’s Echo early in his new memoir, Hitch-22. I’m not given to expending much thought on fate but it was something of a unsettling experience to hear him talking so much about death, now that we know he is unwell. A numbness registered the shock when he spoke about the death of his father from cancer of the oesophagus. I was pleased to hear him quote from Philip Larkin’s poem Aubade, which has long been a favourite and I’m especially pleased to have found your blog, which went straight onto the RSS reader.

    I met Hitchens at the Hay On Wye festival two years ago: he has an uncanny way of giving the impression of evaluating you in seconds. Never have I felt such intelligence at close hand. He liked my Carl Sagan tee shirt though, so I think I was let off rather lightly having tried to engage him in conversation about Iraq.

    As for Sullivan: colour me unimpressed. Frankly I’m not surprised in the least.

    • I was pleased to hear him quote from Philip Larkin’s poem Aubade, which has long been a favourite

      Oh, lovely. As always, good taste, Mr. Hitchens:

      … The mind blanks at the glare …
      [T}he total emptiness for ever,
      The sure extinction that we travel to
      And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
      Not to be anywhere,
      And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

      This is a special way of being afraid
      No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
      That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
      Created to pretend we never die …

      (No, I couldn’t recite that from memory. I had to go find it to cut-and-paste.)

      Larkin seems to condemn bravery (“Being brave // Lets no one off the grave”) — but bravery in the hope to achieve immortality is false bravery. Larkin (and we) agree that religion is “created” — how much more admirable an undaunted bravery that shows those trying to escape religion that integrity is more important than false security. That’s not Larkin, that’s me (I think it’s not Larkin; I’ve always struggled with that penultimate stanza) — but I believe it’s Hitch as well.

      Cheers to you, Hitch, and good luck on your recovery. I don’t smoke and I have no Johnnie Walker Black around — but I’ll raise something to you anyway.

  6. @Monica: DNFTT. Even (especially?) if he didn’t bother to learn anything about Hitch’s thesis other than what he tried to infer from the spine.

    However, backhanded best-wishes gives me a setup to relate, gleefully, an email I received from a longtime friend of my parents’:

    I want you to know that I care and I see a man of kindness in you.God loves you more than you know.Yes, I know you do not believe in Him but I still want you to know He loves you. We can just agree to disagree and I want you to know that I am praying for you.

    That’s … generous of us? To agree to disagree?

  7. Oh, and: Sullivan has kind of a punk-ass-bitch job at The Atlantic. Maybe there’s some kind of head-butting going on: he might think that if he says something clever about an august contributor such as Hitchens, he’ll score mad props and ascend the ranks.


    1) He wasn’t clever
    2) It’s unmistakably pathetic
    3) And he just ends up looking more punk-ass than before

    So, yeah: poor form and poorly played, Mr. Sullivan.

  8. You know, I don’t care how much I hate someone, I am never gleeful when they are diagnosed with a terrible illness. This knowing that when they die, they will not find an ultimate reward on the other side. I wonder where the Christian grace is in some of these commenters. It’s not like they are going to have to mingle with Hitch in their Heaven, after all, since he is a godless heathen.

    I reassure myself in the knowledge that, once he gets over any initial hurt, Hitch will be pleased at these little outbursts that show just how wide his effect has been and provide yet further proof that the religious are far from having a lease on moral behaviour.

    I’ll add my voice to the crowd to say I wish him a speedy recovery. The world needs him for a little while longer yet.

  9. Andrew Sullivan isn’t fit to sharpen Hitchens’s pencils. (That’s not meant to be a euphemism for something homosexual. At least I don’t think it is.)

    Long live Christopher Hitchens, my favorite atheist and intellectual.

  10. Atheists, just face up to the reality that you are currently shallow.

    The cure for that is to engage influences that are just above your current level of understanding and just outside your current interests.

    When you deny anything metaphysical you are shallow. Deathly shallow.

  11. Well, just to be fair, I am reposting here a comment I got on that changes the intention of Sullivan’s words.

    I still think that Sullivan’s words were poorly chosen.

    Comment by SabreNation
    You guys are taking it the wrong way. Sullivan and Hitchens are actually friends, mainly on account of Sullivan’s blistering criticism of “Christianists” as he calls them (Christian Fundamentalists). It wasn’t meant to be a kick in the face so to speak, just a friendly dig directed towards a friend he’s likely debated dozens of times about faith and religion. Here is a follow-up post titled “Should We Pray For Hitch?”:

    “I will, in part to piss him off. I don’t believe in treating the sick as suddenly tender souls who cannot enjoy humor and debate – and that would apply in truckloads for my dear friend. I’m delighted that no one ever pulls a punch with me on the grounds of chronic disease and I’m sure Hitch would feel the same way.

    • I’m delighted that no one ever pulls a punch with me on the grounds of chronic disease

      Dja mean like the kind of mental illness that leads one to believe in religion? </troll>

      “I will [pray for Hitchens], in part to piss him off.” → “You guys are taking it the wrong way.”

      Nah. “This guy is kind of a jerk” is the right response to that. Even though I have a very similar sense of humor. That’s why I put this response second after a dig in the same vein directed at A.S. — to show that I do understand. 🙂

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